Social Security:: International Trade:: Healthcare/ Wealthfare Reform:: Tax Reform


For his long-standing commitment to free and open international trade, Representative Matsui also gained a reputation as an effective, strategic leader. While Matsui was acting chairman of the Trade Subcommittee in 1993, President Clinton turned to him to lead one of the most heated congressional battles of the decade: the fight to pass the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Matsui's status as a free trader and his friendly relationship with president Clinton undoubtedly led in 1993 to his high-profile position as chairman of the House NAFTA Liaison Group. NAFTA would gradually establish a free-trade zone between Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Working in concert with Republicans and Democrats, Matsui was a driver in passing this keystone of modern American trade policy. Although the passing of NAFTA was very controversial and the consequences of NAFTA is still in question, in passing it, he showed that he is always passionate and knew what he was doing.

Matsui also led successful bipartisan efforts to gain Congressional approval of the Uruguay Round Agreements, which led to the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the 2000 approval of Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China. The World Trade Organization is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. The basis of this organization are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world's trading nations and ratified by their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business. An important benefit of the World Trade Organization is that in a complex world, the WTO acts as a forum for countries to argue over their difference on trade issues.

Matsui's expert voice was crucial in efforts to secure Fast-Track trade negotiating authority over the last decade, although he supported and opposed various proposals based on their detailed merits and weaknesses, including opposing the most recent Fast-Track proposal considered in Congress during 2001 and 2002. Throughout these trade debates, Matsui constantly advocated environmental protections and the provision of fair compensation and trade adjustment to American workers whose jobs were negatively impacted by the lowering of barriers to trade.